How Plastic is Slowly Destroying our Planet

Staff Writer: Sam Platko

Can you imagine a giant swirl of microplastic waste that is 617,763 square miles long? The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is an oversized area of garbage floating between the coast of California and Hawaii. The patch is 100 percent man made and is three times the size of France and growing.

Maddi Winstead, who is a sophomore at Kennesaw, is majoring in biology said, “The plastic issue was caused by our ancestors and is only going to grow if we don’t stop it.”

The only way to stop the contribution to the madness is to make drastic changes in your life. Ways to improve in your everyday life are to cut out plastics, not loiter trash, and to pick up trash on the ground when you see it. Seizing every opportunity, you get to help recycle and being more conservative could make or break the future of this world.

 

trash

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch has the potential to grow to over a million square miles long. Photo Courtesy of: Creative Commons

We now know that there are miles and miles of trashing filling up the ocean at a very unhealthy rate. To get a perspective on more than just one ocean in the world, you could see how much estimated trash is in all the Earth’s oceans. The averaged number totals out to be over 5.25 billion pieces of trash floating in the water.

People carelessly throw trash out the window or don’t want to run something over to a trash can therefore they throw it in a bush. Everyone has the same mindset of thinking that it wouldn’t matter if only they did it, then what ends up happening is everyone is doing it and it’s getting out of hand. A good bit of garbage in the streets and in the ocean is the food being wrapped in plastic packaging. You can use glass storing units and mason jars for an easy substitute.

 

 

jars

Mason jars are the safer replacement for storing food and they don’t end up tossed in the ocean like plastic food wrapping. Photo Courtesy of: Creative Commons

Mrs. Potz, science teacher at Woodstock High School, said, “The plastic issue is very serious, which is why you should avoid plastics when you can, and which is why we recycle around the school every Friday.”

Ways to slow down the fast-paced growth of the cluster our nation and world are dealing with is to ban single-use plastics. As more and more countries are starting to find out that it is crucial to not use single-use plastics, and they are finding out it is more important to correctly sort our recycling so that it does not collectively sit in landfills.

Non-reusable products can be switched out for more ecofriendly products such as using reusable containers and bags to store food or water in. Avoiding disposable cups and straws and bringing your own shopping bags to the grocery store are also helpful tips for keeping our streets clean of garbage.

bag

Plastic bags can be easily switched out for a reusable bag when shopping. Photo Courtesy of: Creative Commons

A scary topic that should have even young teens bringing their bad habits to a halt is that scientists have predicted by the year 2050, there will be more pieces of waste in the ocean than there are fish.

Preston Stubblefield, Woodstock senior, said, “I see plastic everywhere on the highway and when I’m driving. It’s scary to see the comparison of fish to trash.” We must ask ourselves if this is the kind of world our kids and grandchildren to live in and we must make a difference to change the situation we got ourselves in.

A substitution for an oil-based plastic that is destroying our world secretly and quickly, is hemp plastic. Hemp plastic is a both biodegradable and non-toxic way to get the same effective use of plastic and still have it be degraded in a minimum of 80 days. Imagine using a type of plastic that is gone in just months of using it.

 

landfill

Landfills are being filled to the brim with plastic waste. Photo Courtesy of: Creative Commons

Woodstock graduate Matt Platko, said, “I’ve never heard of hemp plastic, but seeing pictures of how it decomposes in less than three months could be revolutionary.” The nonbiodegradable plastics we’re using now is not getting the job done.

Did you know that every bit of plastic ever used still exists somewhere? We have the answers to a world where landfills are not being filled, all we need to do now is act. The number one trash item found in the ocean are cigarettes, and unlike common assumption, they are not biodegradable.

Not only is this trash issue affecting humans, it is affecting our wildlife as well. Sea animals are getting endangered and exposed to more and more trash every day. Aquatic life is always getting

caught or washing up on shore with garbage overflowing from the stomach to its mouth. It could be affecting the seafood we eat and could make anyone of us very ill.

Besides eating the waste in the sea, animals are getting caught and trapped in plastic waste that had been previously loitered. Sharks, turtles, and lots of different sea life get caught and plastic and swim around trapped for days without anyone to help them get out.

A major dumping site for countries for more than 20 years was China. The U.S. exported 16 million tons of waste to China and Britain sent China enough garbage to fill up 10,000 Olympic sized swimming pools.

However, on January 1, 2018 Beijing said it would be banning the imports of waste products, making it the most drastic step China has taken towards solving its problem with waste management.

china

China has recently stopped other countries from shipping waste to their country. Photo Courtesy of: Creative Commons

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